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John King USA

News/Business. John King. Daily political news and stories. New.

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00:50:29

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Nato 75, U.s. 27, Libya 25, Us 18, Gadhafi 18, United States 13, Benghazi 11, Clinton 8, Syria 5, U.n. 5, United Nations 5, Moammar Gadhafi 5, Jessica 4, London 4, Paula Newton 4, Afghanistan 3, Omnaris 3, Niaspan 3, Pentagon 3, Iraq 2,
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  CNN    John King USA    News/Business. John King. Daily  
   political news and stories. New.  

    March 24, 2011
    7:00 - 7:50pm EDT  

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the neighbors have offered to let him stay there. wolf. >> on diplomatic row in washington, d.c. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "john king usa" starts right now. >> i'm jessica yellen and onkjo king is off tonight. any moment we expect secretary of state hillary clinton to come to the microphones at the state department and explain just what roles nato and the united states will play in the military operation in libya. here's what's happening. within the past hour nato announced it made a deal to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone over libya, but there's still a lot of disagreement about how aggressive the military operation will be. less than an hour ago the secretary-general told them there's no deal on protecting libyan civilians from moammar
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gadhafi's ground forces. >> we have taken on responsibility for the no-fly zone while the coalition still continues its activities. we are considering whether we should take on that broader responsibility. however, that decision has not been made yet. >> to help us interpret this paula newton is at nato headquarters in bell ygium. the nato secretary-general said that nato will enforce the no-fly zone, but a decision is still yet to be made on the broader mission. so what does that really mean? >> what it means is this. they call this here no-fly plus. the no-fly will be in place by sunday night. the plus means an expanded role. they sent a directive saying how can we involved in a new robust
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role. >> i have to interpret you for a moment. secretary of state hillary clinton is making a estimate. hillary clinton. >> i met with the president and national security team. i want to give you an update on the international community's efforts to implement u.n. security council resolutions 1970 and 1973 and protect the civilians of libya. events have moved very quickly, so let's be clear about where we stand and how we got here. when the libyan people sought to realize their democratic aspirations they were met by extreme violence by their own government. the libyan people appealed to the world to help stop the the brutal attacks on them. and the world listened. the arab league called for urgent action. in response, the u.n. security council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians including a no-fly zone.
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but the regime's forces continued their assaults, and last weekend they reached benghazi itself. we faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian disaster. hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger. so an international coalition was compelled to act. french planes were the first to reach the skies over benghazi. cruise missiles from the united states and the united kingdom followed, striking the regime's air defenses and clearing the way for allied aircraft to implement the no-fly zone. many other nations have now joined this effort. after only five days we have made significant progress. a massacre in benghazi was prevented, and gadhafi's air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above libya.
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humanitarian relief is beginning to reach the people who need it. for example, just today we learned that at least 18 doctors and nurses from an organization funded by the united states agency for international development had arrived in benghazi and were beginning to provide support to the city's main hospital. gadhafi's troops have been pushed back, but they remain a serious threat to the safety of the people. from the start president obama has stressed that the role of the u.s. military would be limited in time and scope. our mission has been to use america's unique capabilities to create the conditions for the no-fly zone and to assist in meeting urgent humanitarian needs. as expected, we're already
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seeing a significant reduction in the number of u.s. planes involved in our operations as the number planes from other countries increase in numbers. today we are taking the next step. we have agreed, along with our nato allies, to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over libya to nato. all 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for nato to take on the broader civilian protection mission under resolution 1973. nato is well-suited to coordinate this international effort and ensuring that all participating nations are working effectively together toward our shared goals. this coalition includes countries beyond nato including arab partners, and we expect all of them to be providing
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important political guidance going forward. we have always said that arab leer leadership and participation is crucial. the arab league show that had leadership with its pivotal statement on libya. they joined the discussions in paris last weekend on implementation. if and we are deeply appreciative of their continuing contributions including aircrafts and pilots from qatar. this evening the united arab emirates announced they are joining the coalition and sending planes to help protect libyan civilians and enforce the no-fly zone. we welcome this important step. it underscores the breadth of this international coalition and the depth of concern in the region for the flight of the libyan people. in the days ahead, as nato assumes command and control responsibilities, the welfare of those civilians will be of
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paramount concern. this operation has already saved many lives, but the danger is far from over. as long as the gadhafi regime threatens its people and defies the united nations, we must remain vigilant and focused. to continue coordinating with our partners and charting i will travel to london to attend an international conference on tuesday convened by the united kingdom. our military will continue to provide support to our efforts to make sure that security council resolutions 1970 and 1973 will be enforced. this is an important effort that has garnered the support and the active participation of nations who recognize the significance of coming together in the international community through
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the united nations to set forth a clear statement of action to be taken in order to protect innocent civilians from their own government. it is an effort that we believe is very important, and we'll look forward to coordinating closely with all those nations that are participating. thank you very much. >> all right, secretary of state hillary clinton there saying that after only five days coalition forces have managed to prevent a massacre in benghazi, render gadhafi's air defenses ineffective, and allowed coalition control of the skies over libya enough to begin delivering humanitarian supplies. but the big headline here is she said that we have agreed to transition command and control for the no-fly zone to nato, and here is the complicated statement she made. she says we've also authorized
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military authorities for nato to take on the broader military protection mission. that is what still remains a murky question for you, and we go now to paula newton there in brussels where nato leaders have been meeting, and paula, perhaps you can clarify this for us. what does this effectively mean, authorize military authorities to take on the broader protection mission? >> reporter: what it means is that right now military planners here at nato are looking at what they can do in order to help enforce that humanitarian mandate that is so important to so many countries in this coalition. what happens next is they expect that plan to land to the table sunday night here in time for another ambassadors meeting. they call it no-fly plus. when they see civilians in danger in libya, they hope they can act. the nato leaders hope this can
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happen in tandem with this recent decision by nato, and then that will mean they have everything in place for the crucial meeting that will happen in london on tuesday that the secretary of state will be attending. also crucial here, jessica, they're saying -- i want to make this distinction. while 28 countries of nato will have the full authority to make all decisions, decision-shaping will also involve arab countries. that is a huge point to many people involved in this right now. it gives the countries the morals they're looking to operate in libya. jessica. >> that's a crucial point we'll get to in our next discussion. thanks so much for that. joining us now to further break down what secretary clinton said and add% it active, nicholas burns. his career as a diplomat includes a stint as u.s. ambassador to nato. right here in washington cnn's senior political analyst gloria
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borger. thanks to both of you. first to you. we get nato is going to take over command of the no-fly zone, but there's this outstanding question of, what steps will the organization take to protect civilians from ground forces? for the past few days it's been a very aggressive effort. could we see that significantly scaled back now? >> i hope we don't. first of all, i think secretary clinton spoke very effectively and clearly about why the united states had to go in, and i think she was right to say there's been tremendous progress made over the last five days. our military, the u.s. military principally, has taken the initiative away from gadhafi, blocked his siege of benghazi and other cities and has put him on the defensive. you asked the key question. if this command and control of the no-fly zone and the entire mission is now to be transferred away from the united states to nato, will nato be an effective and quick and forceful prosecutor of the tactical air strikes that are keeping gadhafi on the offensive?
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it's pretty clear a week into this action that the no-fly zone itself cannot protect the civilians of libya. that gadhafi has sufficient ground power through his military to inflict a lot of damage on civilians to besiege those towns. nato has to be as aggressive in the tactical flight operations as the united states military has been, and that's an open question because, of course, nato is a coalition of 28 countries. if countries object to one measure or another, it could slow down operations. >> i have a question maybe you can answer. is there any way in which we could still retain some kind of unilateral capability to act if we needed to from the air against gadhafi's forces, given this nato agreement? >> reporter: well, gloria, i hope we would. we're a member of nato, of course, and we're the leading member of nato and in many ways it's dominated by the united states in a military sense.
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i wouldn't want to see the united states just withdraw from the region, because in essence what we're trying to do here as an alliance is intimidate and gadhafi and pressure him and embolden the opposition so there might be a true revolution against gadhafi. we're limited by the united nations mandate. one would hope the united states would stay involved, because the united states military is an impressive and awesome force, and obviously gadhafi has to respect our power. will he respect the power of some of the other nato member who is might now take the lead? that is an open question. it it gets to the heart of the credibility of what nato is trying to do. >> one of the big questions is why does the u.s. want to take a back seat at this stage. we'll get to that and other questions on the other side of this break. please stay with us. up next, we have more updates on this breaking news story as well as nato agrees to enforce a no-fly zone in libya.
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to develop an operations plan for nato to take on the broader civilian protection mission under resolution 1973. nato is well-suited to coordinating this international effort. >> secretary of state clinton making that statement just moments ago. nato has made a deal to take over the no-fly zone there in libya, and secretary clinton saying also transitioning authority for protection of civilians. that effort is still being worked out. in libya itself moammar gadhafi's ground forces are engaged in fierce balgtszs are rebels in at least three libyan cities. we can check in live with cnn there in benghazi, the opposition stronghold for us. tell us in your sense this uncertainty today over who is control. has that affected the rebels' mission and what they've been
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able to accomplish throughout the day? >> reporter: well, i think a lot of people are going to be eager to see if the complexion of this operation changes with nato now taking the lead. these opposition forces want this operation to stay in place, and they want it to be as aggressive as it has been. what's remarkable is what continues to be ignored. when you listen to statements by u.s. secretary of state, when you listen to statements by nato officials, coalition officials and heads of western states involved in this intervention, they continue to ignore the stated mission, the stated intent of these opposition forces. they say it openly. they want to continue to fight. they want to continue to wage war, and they want to take this war to moammar gadhafi, and they want to topple his regime. that's a critical fact that sometimes barely meets daily details of the military activity here and the diplomatic face-offs taking place with this operation. this stated mission by the
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opposition forces brings up a whole lot of questions. when you look at u.n. resolution 1973, the intended mission of ending the bloodshed, when you listen to coalition leaders say they want to end want loss of civilian lives, the question is how do you end the bloodshed when one side, the opposition forces benefitting from this operation, want to continue to wage the war. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton mentioned benghazi, how civilian lives were saved here, jessica. that is the case. this conflict is not limited to benghazi. there's a lot of serious situations in cities where civilian lives are still in jeopardy with a lot of uncertainty ahead. >> thank you so much to you reporting for us from benghazi. in fact, a doctor today, gloria, told cnn that 109 people were killed and more than 1,300 wounded in misrata over the past
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week. that's a political message to the u.s.? >> she said clearly that a humanitarian crisis has been averted, and she said that's something you can't always see on your television sets because it's hard to show a crisis that's been averted but she wanted to make the case that they've been effective and that, as she put it it, a massacre was prevented. >> nick, to you. so in recent skirmishes the u.s., whenever u.s. forces have been involved, the u.s. has wanted to take the lead. why in this instance the white house seeking to get in the back seat on this effort? >> reporter: you know, the united states is fully engaged in two major land wars in iraq and afghanistan, nine and a half years in afghanistan and eight years in iraq. we also have vital interests in other parts of arab world. there's a lot happening outside of libya. the government of yemen is on
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the verge of being perhaps overthrown. that's a critical counterterrorism partner with us against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. their pressure is in bahrain where our fifth fleet is stationed. >> the very reason we took something of a lead initially is because we have such sophisticated military xa capabilities. do we risk making it less successful if we're not in the lead? >> reporter: we have vital interests elsewhere, but you're right to pose the question if the united states now withdraws from the lead role, if others take over, is that going to be sufficient in terms of experience and capability and in terms of will to put the kind of pressure on moammar gadhafi that needs to be applied? i think that's the basic question that we have to look at in this transition to nato as well as the basic contradiction between the express goals of the united states to see gadhafi go
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and a much more limited goals of both nato and the united nations. >> would you speak to that, glo gloria. it seems they want him to go and it might be the yurn lying mission. >> the president of the united states early on set a political goal, and that was to get rid of gadhafi. and the united nations and arab league have set a humanitarian goal, which is to save the people of libya from being attacked by gadhafi. this has been a huge problem for the president of united states, because the goals aren't necessarily the same. i think the president's also going to have another problem, which is the downside of not directing this mission, the not leading this mission is you cannot call all the shots. we're not used to that kind of ambiguity in this country. we're used to setting timetables, congress wants to know you're in or out, what's the mission and the end game? >> how do you measure success? >> how do you measure success
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particularly by the way if gadhafi remains, can we still measure this as a success? approximate if he stops attacks his people, and there's a real cease-fire? i don't know the answer to that question. >> nick, you know, paula newton has reported that the big challenge has been getting turkey to sign onto the agreement for nato. would you explain a little bit why turkey has unique and special reservations and why they're an important partner in this effort? >> turkey, is the only muslim member of nato, but a country that's a real bridge to the middle east. the turks want to understand thz a limited mission if they give their support to it. the complication at nature foe is an organization that operates by consensus, meaning every single country has to agree before the alliance can do anything. getting the turks on board and getting the germans to not object were the two principal objective this is week.
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>> thanks to both us. an unbelievably momentous day in the world. ahead, how does today's news from nato impact the u.s. military strategy in libya? we'll break it down further next. a new announcement about radiation in the water. what they say now is having a big impact on children. sanjay gupta will be here with the latest. [ woman ] when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation and with 12,000 atms and thousands of branches, we're with you in more ways and places than ever before. with you when you want the most from your bank. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far. i know what works differently than many other allergy medications.
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in only five days we have made significant progress. a massacre in benghazi was prevented, gadhafi's air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above libya. >> welcome back as we continue to cover this breaking news. the latest nato will assume control of enforcing the allied no-fly zone over libya, but the u.s. military's work there still is not done. chris lawrence joins us from his post, the pentagon. help us understand, what are you hearing at the pentagon in terms of how a hand-off to nato is going to occur? >> officials here tell us it's going to be a phased approach. in other words, don't look for u.s. jets to pack up and go home the minute that nato takes control. now, white house spokesman jay carney described the u.s. role
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going forward as support and assist, and in some ways that's true in that they do a lot of refuelling, aerial surveillance of what's happened the ground in libya. the pentagon is also saying they expect to continue strike missions as well. so somewhat of a different nuance there in terms of what exactly the u.s. military will be doing. >> chris, in secretary clinton's statement she made it clear that the u.s. helped go in only after arab states said that libya needed some support, and the uae has announced it's contributing aircraft to help enforce the no-fly zone. how big a victory is that uae announcement for the obama administration? >> it's big in that they're not just going to be doing humanitarian aid. that's one thing. the uae has agreed to send 12 jets, lend 12 jets to the cause, and that's coming on the heels qatar getting its aircraft there. they'll start flying in weekend. overall, the u.s. needs as many coalition partners as it can
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get. take a look at this graphic, and we can show you sort of the load that the u.s. military is bearing right now. of the 175 tomahawk missiles that have been fired. the u.s. has fired 168 of them. those cost well over a million dollars each. when you look at the number of sorties flown up 750 so far, the u.s. has flown about 450 of those with all the fuel costs and ammunition that went with it. the f-15 that went down the other day, that's a $30 million fighter jet. whether it was taken doubt out of sky as libyan state tv claims or as the pentagon says had a mechanical failure, either way it shows that no fly doesn't mean no risk. anytime you put those pilots in the air, u.s. assets are on the line, so to speak. >> those numbers seem to demonstrate sms this is a
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coalition effort the u.s. is bearing the brunt of the load at this point. >> thanks so much. chris lawrence at the pentagon. the u.s. and its allies have reached an agreement of command of the libyan military operation enforcing a no-fly zone. nato will take charge in the next couple of days, but what else will up happen? joining me now is retired army brigadier general mark bennett. he hold posts in the defense and state department. thank you for being here. paula nut fon in brussels at nato said they call it a no-fly plus. can you interpret that? what does that mean? >> i think what they mean is that the nato authorities are going to try to push the mission beyond simply of that of the no-fly. they have the authority to take over the no-fly, but they recognize this is pretty complicated to have the headquarters running the humanitarian protection mission, and the nato headquarters running the no-fly. i think they're trying to build a little bit of flexibility so when the politicians can agree
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that the expanded mission will take over. >> basically what we've calling this a no-fly zone, but there's a lot more to date. allied forces taking out tanks and shooting gadhafi forces on the ground, if they have been going after civilians. do you expect that kind of effort to ramp down once nato takes over? >> no, i don't think so. i think there will still be a requirement to conduct those operations. it's really up to gadhafi whether that's going to ramp down or not, up to their forces whether they pull back. i suspect nato will have as much heart to go after the tanks, whether it's a foreign country or u.s. country flying that airplane. >> how complicated does it become now? a no-fly zone is one thing but the no-fly plus is an added burden for military commanders. >> it really is. you have pilots up in the air conducting the humanitarian missions going after tanks
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sharing air space with those working for a different headquarters conducting a no-fly mission. it is a good thing that we have such seasoned professionals that can work their way through these deconflictiom n measures. >> can you maj one pilot going after an airplane coming up and another pilot going after the same airstrip. it can be complicated. we have a professional military organization both in the united states and nato. >> what does this do to our u.s. men and women who are helping with this effort? it just complicates their burden? >> it really won't be seen at the individual pilot level, down at the individual squadron level. they'll take their orders from the headquarters above them. the staff officers coordinating between the headquarters,
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they'll be busy little beavers. but this -- their job at the staff level is to make sure that when they give their actions and orders down to the pilots, they're not confused. >> is it your sense, then, that for a while efforts would continue in the area while there's a transition to nato? >> well, it's important to recognize that u.s. is part of nato. a pilot could, in fact, be flying for general hamm one day, and then the next day get a mission to fly for the admiral. >> that would happen over this weekend? >> it could happen over this weekend, yes. >> and secretary clinton said nato is no authorizing military efforts to take over the command of the civilian protection effort. what does that mean to you? >> well, as somebody who has served in nato and at the supreme headquarters there, i think the code there was they're now authorized to start planning to take over this additional mission.
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it was very clear when the nato secretary-general said, we've got the no-fly. we don't have the humanitarian mission. they just can't take over the humanitarian mission. >> it's a work in progress? >> it's a work in progress. they have to be authorized to conduct military planning in nato. they seem to have the authority to do that future planning before the political decision is made. >> it can be an ugly process. >> it's a complicated process, but nato has done great work over the past 60 years. i suspect it's going to do great work here as well. >> we can't reinforce enough that it's a 28-0 agreement. every nation must be on board for anything to happen. >> as a former nato ambassador, it's an consensus organization, there are no abstentions, 28-0. >> painful politics to get down. >> thanks for being with us. >> glad to be here. ahead, at least 34 dead and thousands moirned during funerals today in syria part of the latest round of violence in the middle east, and new
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welcome back. here's the latest news you need to know right now. this hour's breaking news story, nato has agreed to take command of enforcing the no-fly zone over libya, but it's still considering taking control of the full u.n.-backed military mission of protecting libyan civilians from moammar gadhafi's
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forces. to that end secretary of state hillary clinton announced a few minutes ago she will attend an international meeting on libya next tuesday in london. we got a medical update on congresswoman gabrielle giffords today from her husband, nasa astronaut mark kelly. he sees her twice a day and she gets staff briefings on what's happening in congress and in her arizona district. >> she's starting to process some of the tragedy that we all went through in january. she's going through that as we speak. despite that she remains in a very good mood. >> amazing. well, in political news cnn first reported today that minnesota congresswoman and tea party favorite michelle bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee in june but possibly sooner. this is an order to be in the early republican presidential debate cnn is told.
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late this afternoon the national transportation safety board confirmed an air traffic controller at reagan international airport fell asleep on duty tuesday night, and that's why two airlines had to land on their own. the controller, a 20-year veteran, has been suspended. it's been a tense day in syria where thousands turned out for today's funerals for people killed in anti-government demonstrations. the government is promising reforms. joins us from there, cnn's mohammed and he's monitoring the situation. thanks for being with us. does it look like any of the government's promises will quell the growing discontent in syria? >> reporter: from activists and opposition members we've spoken with the past few hours, the answer to that is no. opposition members that we've spoken with have said to us they continue to plan to be out on the streets tomorrow. there are big demonstrations planned for tomorrow. what people tell us is that the
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time for the government to offer these types of reforms has long passed. this is too little too late. what's happened the last few days in the past week, what started out local concerns in this city in syria, they wanted reforms there and they wanted more economic opportunity, more job creation. now it's starting to turn into a movement calling for the fall of regime. this is worrying the syrian government. the activists because they've seen the syrian government respond now and offer more concessions they're saying what the government is offering is not nearly enough. they want regime change and more reforms. they want to see what's been promised to them implemented now. jessica. >> reporting for us on the latest tensions in syria. we're going to switch back to this hour's breaking news on libya and nato's intention to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone. that's coming up on the other side of this break. [ gasps ]
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we're following breaking news this hour. nato has just announced that its agreed to take command of enforcing a no-fly zone over libya, but there's still no deal on who will control the full u.n.-backed military mission of protecting libyan civilians. joining me from nato headquarters is paula newton and from the state department senior producer elise labitt. first to you, paula. you say your sources at nato headquarters call this agreement
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a no-fly plus. what does that exactly mean? >> reporter: that means this plus part that they will become closer to being able to enforce that u.n. resolution to the safety of all of those nato members. what does that mean? if they see at any point in time that civilians are in trouble on the ground they can do what they need to do militarily to stop what is going on. this is important to all of the countries involved here, but they don't want to overstep the bounds of the resolution. in the last few moments here nato officials emphasize we expect this expanded role of nato to be approved as well perhaps as early as sunday night. they're planning on it, and they're having another meeting on sunday night. they hope by the time secretary clinton gets to the meeting in london they will have a clear picture of what this will look like. we've put this together as flex -- as most flexible plan we
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can get, which will give them the moral suasion to be in the partners. that's how it's supposed to work in principle. you can imagine how difficult this is going to be. >> paula, your sense, given if the u.s. called all the shots, how would they want the nato agreement to look? what would they like it to accomplish? >> reporter: well, they want it to accomplish basically two things is to protect those civilians on the ground, and also make sure -- this is key for a lot of countries involved that there aren't any civilian casualties from nato operations. the last thing anyone wants here with the very delicate and i remind everyone there is a huge operation going on under nato umbrella in afghanistan. the last thing they want is to have civilians hurt by any kind of nato air strikes, and that's the second key to this. at the same time they know,
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look, there's expectations there that u.n. resolution is clear. those civilians must be protected. we've heard from the correspondents in libya, jessica. it it gets very complicated on the ground. that's why the military commanders issue this plan to these nations on sunday night and let them know if we have house-to-house fighting in a place like benghazi, this is what we can do. >> let's bring in elise for a sense of where the u.s. is coming from, because elise, it seemed that secretary clinton appeared to get out ahead of what the nato secretary-general said on cnn earlier today. she indicated that nato will pick up the humanitarian effort. is she foreshadowing what is inevitably going to happen? >> reporter: i think she's foreshadowing what she'd like to happen and what she's going to make sure talking with the foreign ministers over the next couple of days does happen. i was told when secretary of state clinton office the phone call today with the foreign ministers of turkey, france and the uk, they went over this agreement very carefully.
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nato would undertake all of the resolution, and which says by all means necessary. that does include air strikes, and that all of the members including turkey agreed. we understand in the last couple of hours turkey said they thought they had fast. the u.s. made real pains to see that this resolution would have the widest possible support, but also the broadest possible authority. obviously as paula said, no one wants casuas.id